Posts tagged ‘Kelvin Massey’

Black Golfers Swing Against Sickle Cell Anemia

During the summer in the Memphis, TN area, there are hundreds of charity golf tournaments. Few however, have been around as long as the Walter Evans Memorial Sickle Cell Golf Tournament that occurs the weekend before Labor Day. The late Walter Evans founded the two-day tournament in 1973 as a way to raise money for and educate about sickle cell anemia. This year’s tournament was the 36th annual event to support sickle cell anemia treatment and education.

After Evans died in 1984, the tournament continued and is now hosted by the Pro Duffers South, a predominantly African American golfers’ group. Proceeds from the tournament support the Diggs-Kraus Sickle Cell Anemia Advocacy Council. The advocacy council is a part of the Diggs-Kraus Sickle Cell Center at the Regional Medical Center (The MED). There is no recognized cure for sickle cell anemia but institutions such as the Diggs-Kraus Center can help those afflicted by the disease live with the disease.

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease that disproportionately affects African Americans. According to the National Institutes of Health 1 in 500 African Americans in the United States has sickle cell anemia. The same study reports that 1 in 12 African Americans has the sickle cell anemia trait which means that they can possibly pass on the disease to any children they might have. With the large population of African Americans in the Memphis area, there is a continued need for both resources and education.

The Pro Duffers South group is part of a national organization of predominantly African American golfers. This year’s tournament at North Creek Golf Club, hosted nearly 90 golfers who paid $175 each to participate. Golfers came from Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, and Puerto Rico. In addition, a number of corporate sponsors supported the tournament.

Leon Griffin, Sr. who helped Walter Evans in the very beginning of the event was the oldest player in the field and showed many of the younger players that he can still compete at a high level. Griffin said he is “proud to see the tournament continue for so many years. It is our chance to help others who are afflicted by this terrible disease.”

At a luncheon following the end of play, Carl Herring, the president of the Pro Duffers South, announced the winners. The first award was one the no golfer wants to win because it represents the person with the worst score over the two days of play. This year’s “winner” was Duke Herenton, the son of Memphis Mayor Dr. W.W. Herenton. Herenton received the “Ball Beater” award for his score of 245 over the two days. He announced to the field that he will “work to improve my game so I will not win this award in next year’s tournament”.

The tournament was divided into five groups or flights based on the age and skill levels of the players. The winners were:

Senior Flight – John Brown – Memphis, TN

Third Fight Joseph Sudduth – Memphis, TN

Second Flight – Kelvin Massey –San Juan, Puerto Rico

First Flight Abdullah Hasan – Memphis, TN

Championship Flight- Kevin Jennings -Memphis, TN

Leon Griffin Sr. Prepares to Tee Off

Leon Griffin Sr. Prepares to Tee Off


September 10, 2008 at 9:59 am 3 comments

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